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C$7.8 Million in Aquaculture Investment for New Brunswick

CANADA - The Provincial Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is backing a C$16-million project by Gray Aqua Group Limited of New Brunswick for a four-site salmon aquaculture operation in the Bay dEspoir region with C$7.8 million.

Acting Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Trevor Taylor

To assist the company, the province will provide a loan guarantee of C$6.8 million under the Aquaculture Working Capital Loan Guarantee Initiative and an equity investment of C$1 million under the Aquaculture Capital Equity Investment Program.

The Honourable Trevor Taylor, Acting Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, made the announcement today at a news conference in Conne River.

The minister was joined by representatives of Gray Aqua Group Limited and Chief Misel Joe of the Miawpukek First Nation. The area MHA Tracey Perry, officials of the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association (NAIA) and local community and industry representatives were also in attendance.

"This new development will add significantly to the current growth of the provincial aquaculture industry, particularly on the south coast of Newfoundland and Labrador," said Minister Taylor.

"It will dramatically increase the production of salmon in our province and create meaningful employment opportunities and economic spin-off benefits for the entire region. We are very pleased to support this company, which is extremely committed to the sustained development of aquaculture in Newfoundland and Labrador, as we continue to make unprecedented investments in our aquaculture sector."

The new operation provides for 35 permanent jobs and 40-person years in processing employment. Furthermore, it is anticipated that the operation will create additional and equivalent levels of employment in the supply and service sectors such that the total employment impact will be in the order of 150 jobs.

"The Gray family is looking forward with excitement to working with the province, Landsbanki, ACOA and with the Conne River Band to expand its own business into a vertically integrated company," said Tim Gray, Chairman and President of Gray Aqua Group Limited.

"We are family and community-oriented in our perspective and look for the same in this province. We look forward to becoming an active producer of SQF Certified salmon supplying customers with the most safe, healthy and delicious product available."

The Newfoundland and Labrador headquarters for the company is located in Conne River, and its new farming sites are located in the Bay d’Espoir region near that community.

"We are pleased the Gray Aqua Group Limited has decided to expand its operation to include working with Miawpukek First Nation," said Chief Misel Joe.

"Through this venture, Gray Aqua Group has helped us grow as a community and it will allow us to expand our vision of developing new partnerships and relationships with other levels of government and the entire Connaigre region. I know that this working relationship will be based on honor and mutual respect and that it will be of benefit to us, the company and the local aquaculture industry."

The Provincial Government introduced the Aquaculture Working Capital Loan Guarantee Initiative in 2004 to facilitate access to working capital for qualified companies to fund their fish farming operations.

The Aquaculture Capital Equity Investment Program was introduced in 2006 to leverage investment from private companies and the Federal Government. Over the past three years, an estimated $200 million in private sector investment has been leveraged, most of which is from outside of Newfoundland and Labrador.

"The Coast of Bays is a rural area that has experienced tremendous job creation as a result of aquaculture investment," said Tracey Perry, MHA for Fortune Bay-Cape La Hune.

"We are very pleased to see new entrants such as Gray Aquaculture coming to the region, which has vast potential for expansion. We wish them every success in their partnerships, and look forward to working with them as they continue to grow their company in Fortune Bay- Cape La Hune."

As a result of investments in aquaculture by the Williams Government, approximately 350 direct jobs have been created and more indirect jobs and benefits are expected to occur as the industry continues to mature and develop in this province.

"The seafood industry in Newfoundland and Labrador continues to be a top priority for government and we continue to do what we can to ensure it remains an integral part of the province’s rural economy," said Minister Taylor. "Aquaculture development provides a tremendous opportunity for employment and wealth generation in rural areas of the province. We look forward to working with Gray Aqua Group Limited in its endeavours in our province. We are eager to move forward with the further development of the aquaculture sector in Newfoundland and Labrador."

Ellen Hardy

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